For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Expectation vs. Reality

It's been a pretty dry winter in our part of the country. A few really cold days. A little ice scare. A little snow back in December that left as quickly as it came. So you can imagine how excited the kids were when they predicted 2-4 inches of snow overnight. We were all pretty excited.

But when we woke up this morning, nothing had really materialized. We were expecting this:

And we got this:

Sometimes the reality just doesn't live up to the expectation. Of course, I had to stop and remember what my expectation was built on: the prediction of a weather forecaster. Now, in all fairness, I know these guys do the best they can with what they have. They put all their models together, based on typical patterns, etc. They are definitely educated guess; but only guesses. In the end, they really have no idea. Because only God controls the weather, right?

I began to realize that this is a bit like life in general. We have so many expectations. We have expectations about what our job will be like, and what our marriage will be like, and what our children will be like, what life will be like in general. But they are only guesses. We can consult the charts, look at models of those before us, consider lots of variables that might get us a good guess. But it's only a guess. Life plays out much differently than our expectations sometimes. Because we're not God.

We even have expectations about God. We are told by this or that TV preacher, or we read this or that best selling book, that tells us God does this, or God will do that for us, or this is how God is. But what are those expectations built on? The words of men. Often the words of false teachers. The only true expectations are found in God's Word.

Even then, our expectations can be off. We read things into the word. We claim promises that are not ours, or at least no ours in the way we want them to be (read here for a great little post on which Bible promises we claim). And based on those faulty interpretations, we come up with a set of expectations, and then we are severely disappointed when they fall flat. But what were those expectations built on? God's true promises, our our fleshly interpretations of them.

Here's the thing. God has made all kinds of promises. He promises to keep those who are His, to never leave us nor forsake us, the bring us into an inheritance that will never fade or spoil. He promises to comfort us, to hold us up on the midst of difficulty, to watch over us and protect us. But we need to be sure that we don't have misguided expectations of what all that looks like. That we don't listen to those who tell us God's promise of His presence and provision means we will never have suffering, we will be always healthy and wealthy. Because eventually you're going to wake up and realize the weather guy was wrong. Your expectations were built on the wrong foundation.

Instead, wake up each day and take what God gives you. I wanted more snow, but I rejoice in the beauty of God's creation that He demonstrated this day. Just like I might say I wanted more ________________ (fill in the blank), I expected more this or that. Take what God has blessed you with, see the beauty of it, rejoice in His goodness to you, exalt Him for His presence with you, and praise the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, rejoice. Even when you don't get what you expected.

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